Several years ago whilst still in Korea I remember watching an interesting Discovery Channel documentary, The Boy with Divine Powers which featured the remarkable accomplishments of teenage Ram Bahadur Bomjon – then already having been dubbed “Buddha Boy” – for his ability to meditate seemingly without the need for food or water. For some reason I thought of this documentary a few days ago and was curoius as to just what happened to “Buddha Boy”? Was he still alive? Was it all just an elaborate hoax? Or, was there something more to this, something we just can’t fully explain?
The documentary – set in an isolated forest in rural Nepal where Ram had commenced his meditation and which had already become a circus with thousands of pilgrims, tourists and sightseers flocking each day to view this miracle of nature – was produced with two purposes in mind: to document Ram’s feat and its accompanying curiousty in a land bounded by a deeply spirituality but experiencing widespread change and upheaval at the time, and to monitor him for seventy-two hours continuously in order to determine whether this was an elaborate hoax or indeed a feat of incredible human endurance was being witnessed, whereby an individual is being sustained by spirituality alone, not requiring the seemingly essential nourishment of food and water to survive.
Despite a few setbacks – largely due to Ram’s over zealous brother and followers – the documentary crew were able to monitor his condition continuously for 72 hours (the amount of time the average cannot live without food or water) and assert that during this period the young man had not taken on food or water.
Fast forward eight years since Ram first started his spiritual odyssey and he is still an active meditator and faster, being capable of inedia – the ability to live without food or water. Following the increasing accompanying circus following his fasting meditation at the base of the hollow tree featured in the documentary, Ram disappeared later in 2007 – when the documentary was released – only to be found some weeks later citing the reason why he left his original meditation spot “because there is no peace”.
Controversy has since followed Ram, in 2010 there were reports that he had assaulted some local villagers in the Bara district of Nepal as they were mimicking his meditation, disrupting him and attempting to manhandle him. More seriously, a Slovak woman, held captive by Ram followers for three months, was released in 2012.
Ram, from a Buddhist family in majority Hindu Nepal, has gone on record as stating he is not Buddha’s reincarnation. However, his remarkable feats continues to delight, intrigue, astonish and amaze observers leaving even the most ardent critics to question whether there is something special this man is able to achieve, and if he can, perhaps we are all capable too.
What are your thoughts? Despite the advances modern science and medicine have made over the past two centuries are there still some things that defy logic, science and the basic fundamentals of life we base our experiences upon?
Is Ram showing us something we are all ultimately capable of, or is he in some way, special, unique?